NEWS

In Brief

GUL PROMISE

Turkish president pledges to help Patriarchate and Istanbul Greeks Turkish President Abdullah Gul pledged yesterday during a meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios in Ankara to do all he could to solve the problems faced by the Greek community and the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. Gul is reported to have told Vartholomaios that he will personally monitor the problems until they are on the way to being solved. Representatives of Istanbul’s Greek community accompanied Vartholomaios to the meeting. HUMAN TRAFFICKERS Two men arrested for keeping a Russian woman prisoner in Athens Police yesterday arrested two Greeks believed to be members of a people smuggling ring bringing foreign women into Greece and forcing them to work in the sex industry for profit. Officers rescued a Russian woman who, they said, had been held hostage by the suspects in a Menidi apartment and forced to work as a stripper. The woman was reportedly brought to Greece from Russia with the promise of high-paid work and supplied with documents. Ring members allegedly threatened to murder her child, who is with relatives in Russia, unless she complied. TOURIST DIES British teen falls from Kos balcony A 17-year-old British tourist was killed in Kos early yesterday after falling from a second-floor balcony at a hotel in the resort of Kardamaina. Police did not name the teenager but said that he fell from a height of 6 meters at around 1 a.m. while he was probably trying to climb down from the balcony. Further details were not immediately available. Cyprus falcons Gunmen in Cyprus have killed 46 threatened red-footed migrating falcons simply for target practice, bird conservation officials on the Mediterranean island charged yesterday. Birdlife Cyprus Manager Martin Hellicar said farmers on Friday found the pellet-riddled birds lying in a tight cluster on a citrus farm west of the coastal resort of Limassol. Another six birds were found shot but still clinging on to life. Hellicar said exacerbating the killings was the fact that the red-footed falcon was recently upgraded from «vulnerable» to «globally near-threatened.» (AFP) Shopkeeper shot The 60-year-old owner of a small convenience store in Thessaloniki was shot and injured during an armed robbery yesterday. Police said that an unidentified assailant entered the store and threatened the man at gunpoint. The owner refused to hand over any money and the robber shot him in the thigh at close range before taking 500 euros in cash from his register. The victim was taken to the hospital. Fugitive decision The Supreme Court postponed a decision yesterday on whether to extradite a drug fugitive to Australia pending the conclusion of a separate appeal by his lawyers in Australia. Lawyers for Tony Mokbel have challenged the extradition request in Australian courts, arguing it should not have been signed not by the country’s justice minister but by the attorney general. The Supreme Court said it would await a final decision from Australia in November and will meet again on December 4. Migrant stress One in three immigrants suffer stress and depression, specialist doctors told a conference yesterday ahead of today’s World Mental Health Day. Mental health checks conducted on migrants between 2000 and 2004 as part of an Athens University study showed that one in three were suffering from either stress or depression, doctors said. Of those suffering depression, their ailment was nearly always directly linked to unemployment or the lack of a support network of friends and relatives, experts said. Stray bullet A bullet was fired into a Zografou apartment in eastern Athens yesterday by an off-duty policeman, authorities said. Police said the officer was cleaning his service revolver when he dropped the weapon and it fired. No one was in the apartment where the shot was fired. Authorities said the officer reported the incident to the local police station.